The Federal Government’s changes to the Australian Citizenship rules was always going to cause controversy. There are people that think that the changes are nothing more than a political move, while others believe the government is trying to positively change the calibre of people that call Australia home.
The chances that a member from each side of the debate co-host Network Ten’s The Project are pretty high when it comes to Waleed Aly and Steve Price. Both men never shy away from saying what they think, and both did just that over the citizenship changes.
One one side, Waleed believes that the changes are a sign that the Turnbull government is in trouble and are flag waving to get support behind them. Waleed asked Price, “Malcolm Turnbull is in political trouble now, and he pulls the same sort of reign now. Don’t you think people will see through the really transparent politics of this?”
Price believes that the changes are good for Australia and took umbrage with Waleed’s stance. Price said what the government was doing was “reinstating what it means to be Australian.” He added, “It is saying if you are going to become an Australian citizen you have to live here for four years before you apply. We are going to do tougher background checks on people, which to me would make a lot of sense.”
Price then added, “Why wouldn’t you check if someone has been a fraudster or someone’s been involved in a domestic violence incident overseas or here, indeed, before inviting them becoming a citizen?” To which Waleed responded, “I guess the problem is people will take this as a message that these are problems that exist only in migrant communities and its immigrants that bring these problems to us”.
Waleed compared the move by the Turnbull Government to the drastic changes that the John Howard Government proposed in the lead up to their defeat in the 2007 election. When Price said he didn’t think this was the case, Waleed said, “It means in 2006-07 when he was in political trouble he specifically started talking about citizenship tests, they announced it in about four different press releases – I remember this really, really clearly – it was this big thing about Australian values and migrants and integration, and it was politics, and the Australian electorate saw through it, and he went out of office.”
Price reiterated that he didn’t have a problem with the changes.
This article originally appeared on Starts At 60.